Volunteering is usually associated with wealthy people and college students. However, a new survey has put out results that show that white women and those living in the Midwest volunteer the most. Cities on the coasts were said to have the lowest volunteer rates. Researchers hope this information can inspire these cities to do more to get their residents to volunteer.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area led the survey which showed that four out of every 10 adults did some form of volunteer work. The study surveys an average of three years from 2004 to 2006 for the 50 largest metropolitan areas. Salt Lake City, Austin, Omaha, and Seattle rounded out the top five. Las Vegas, Miami, New York, Virginia Beach, and Riverside had the lowest volunteer rate. The overall totals show that volunteerism has dropped from 28.8 percent in 2005 to 26.7 percent in 2006. However, this number is still higher than the 20.4 percent recorded in 1989. The survey shows that those most likely to volunteer had more time to do so because of shorter commutes, home ownership, high education levels, and lived near high concentrations of nonprofit organizations.

Most of the 65.5 million adult volunteers said that they serve more through religious organizations than any other type. The number of female volunteers was higher than men in every state. Women with children and women who work have higher volunteer rates than women who don’t. The volunteers spent an average of 50 hours a year volunteering and gave about 8.2 billion hours of volunteer service in 2005. Utah led every state in all categories of volunteering including highest volunteer rate, annual hours donated by a typical volunteer, and overall volunteer rates by seniors, college students, and young adults. The average volunteer is a white female who volunteers about 50 hours per year in religious organizations as a tutor, mentor, coach, or referee.

Volunteering is not just the right thing to do, it is beneficial to our economy. In 2005, volunteering is said to have equaled $147.6 billion dollars. The National and Community Service, an independent federal agency hopes that by releasing the study, those cities and states who have a lack of volunteerism will look into how to get their citizens to start volunteering by learning from those that do.

For related articles visit

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/V/VOLUNTEERING?SITE=PAPIT&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=home.htm, www.nationalservice.gov, and http://www.nationalservice.gov/about/newsroom/releases_detail.asp?tbl_pr_id=397

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